5/4 Cardinals 5, Cubs 4
Yadier Molina hit a tiebreaking two-run single with two outs in the ninth off Hector Rondon to lift the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory over the Cubs, snapping Chicago’s three-game winning streak. Sunday was Rondon’s third straight game, and he entered in the ninth with the game tied at 3.
“[The ninth inning] is really tough because I need to come in aggressive against the hitter,” Rondon said. “I tried to make a good pitch today but something happened. I tried to throw a pitch for a breaking ball but it went for a base hit.”
With one out, Rondon walked Randal Grichuk and Mark Ellis singled. Rondon, who was 3-for-3 in save opportunities, picking up two of those Friday and Saturday against the Cardinals, then struck out Peter Bourjos, but he walked Matt Carpenter to load the bases for Molina. The veteran then lined a 1-2 pitch to center, driving in Grichuk and Ellis.
“I was looking to not strike out,” Molina said. “I mean, I got real lucky with that — they were playing me to pull. It was a good at-bat. He wanted to strike me out and I put the ball in play and good things happened.”
Rondon said he wasn’t tired; he’d only thrown seven pitches on Saturday.
“I tried to throw a sinker inside but it stayed a little in the middle,” Rondon said. “It was down and that’s why I got a ground ball. He fought me with a lot of pitches. I tried to go away, away, away, and finally I tried to go in. I missed the location but I still made a good pitch. I got a ground ball.”
Manager Rick Renteria is going with matchups as they try to fill the closer’s role.
“Every game is a test,” Renteria said. “He needs to keep his head up. Games like this are going to happen. He went out there and he wanted the ball.”
— Carrie Muskat